- Jun 27, 2018
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Is your sunscreen actually causing cancer?
We all know that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation is bad for our health, and can cause skin cancer. So if you go out in the sun, it’s natural to grab some sunscreen for protection. But what if your sunscreen is actually giving you cancer?
There are two kinds of sunscreen, chemical and mineral, and it’s many of the chemical sunscreens that we need to be wary of. Wellness Mama cites that some of the chemical ingredients are known to become toxic and carcinogenic when exposed to the sun, and some increase the chance of tumors. Some ingredients have been found to be a hormone disruptor, aka endocrine disruptor, which can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other disorders. Because these ingredients are estrogenic, they may interfere with your thyroid and other hormone processes in the body.
The most common chemical sunscreen is Oxybenzone, which traces of this chemical can be found in 96% of the US population, according to a recent study by the CDCP. This is a bit alarming, as this endocrine disruptor can reduce sperm count in men, and may contribute to endometriosis in women.
Spray sunscreens have become very popular, due to the ease of application, but they may pose a larger threat to our health. Because the particles are in the air once sprayed, they can be easily breathed in and will enter our bloodstream quicker. So it’s suggested to ditch the sprays and apply by hand, especially when applying on children.
What’s the alternative to harmful chemicals? The truth about skin cancer suggests limiting your sun exposure and staying in the shade, especially during the hottest time of the day when UV rays are the harshest. Just 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day can help build a base tan, which helps avoid burning. Covering up with clothing, rash guard tops, and hats will help block the sun. Zinc oxide does an excellent job of blocking the sun without the use of chemicals. Even a healthy diet, especially eating foods rich in antioxidants, can help prevent sun burn.
Some of the harmful chemicals are starting to be banned in sunscreens, but there’s a good chance that over 75% of what can be purchased contains some of many of the questionable chemicals. Keep a list and check to make sure what you’re buying is safe. Both Wellness Mama and EWG have lists of products they consider to be a better choice, as well as a full list of the chemicals to avoid using. You can still have summer fun, but just be safe in the sun!
Written by Lucie Winters
EWG – the trouble with ingredients in sunscreen
The truth about skin cancer – the lies we’ve been told about the real causes of skin cancer
Wellness mama – why most sunscreen is harmful